Month: December 2019

3 Ways to Practice You This Holiday Season

3 Ways to Practice You This Holiday Season

Practicing being true to ourselves is a delicate dance of knowing ourselves, then respecting and serving that truth. This requires cultivation of both internal stability and external ease. How can we do this when we are surrounded by cultural chaos as well as our own family dramas? Here are three ways to Practice You this holiday season.

Write It Down

Set a timer for five to ten minutes; write who you are and where you’re going. Note every label and defining element of who you perceive yourself to be, and then note your vision for yourself next year, in five years and in ten years. Coming to know yourself will help you be steady when confronted, soft when you’d normally get agitated, and more kind at just the right times.

Sit With It

Nothing changes in an instant, and we can continuously and simply ask to be shown what the next step might be. If prayer is when we speak to our idea of a higher power, meditation is a moment to listen for healing, becomes a respite, a break in the day, a time to heal ourselves. Sit with it. Sit with what you learn when you listen a few minutes more.

Move More Slowly

One of the simplest ways I practice being myself is to simply slow down. I’ve learned this from every moment of deep loss, grief, or heartache–if i move more slowly, I won’t break. I can see what’s useful, what’s nourishing, what’s holy about this moment. Slowing down for myself helps me refine what I’m practicing and choosing in my life.


Elena Brower is a Mama, author of Practice You, yoga instructor, designer, and artist based in New York City. Devoted to cultivating meditation as our most healing habit, she’s created potent online coursework and produced On Meditation, a film featuring personal portraits of renowned meditators. For more, visit

elena brower

4 Ways to Cultivate Creativity This Holiday Season

4 ways to cultivate creativity this holiday season

In the craziness of the holiday season, it can be challenging to cultivate personal creativity—but when we think of creativity in terms of a gift, our hearts open to great and beautiful possibilities. Here are four ways you can cultivate creativity this holiday season. 

Write a series of haiku you can print on paper, ceramics, cloth or food

Spend some time reading and reminding yourself of the art of haiku. Practice writing a few of your own on paper first. Make it a ritual; bring presence and mindfulness and reflect on the immediacy of your experience here and now—and maybe touch of some sentiments around the holidays.

Transfer your haiku to a holiday ornament you can hang from a tree or. . .

Have fun with this practice! Invite your friends and family members to engage in this practice and have fun exploring different ways you can share your haiku on an ornament.

Write a haiku you can eat

Haiku holiday cookies anyone? Use icing as your ink. Explore different ways you might “write” your haiku using food.

Haiku writing with objects and documented in photographs

You can create your haiku with sticks, string, stones, sand, any material you want, and then document your poem by photographing it. Your last step is to create it so that you can give it away as a gift!

Happy holidays! 

Albert Flynn DeSilver is an internationally published poet, memoirist, novelist, speaker, and workshop leader. He served as Marin County’s first Poet Laureate from 2008–2010, and his work has appeared in more than 100 literary journals worldwide, including ZYZZYVA, New American Writing, and Exquisite Corpse. Albert is the author of Writing as a Path to AwakeningBeamish Boy: A Memoir, Letters to Early Street, and Walking Tooth & Cloud. He has taught workshops at The Esalen Institute, The Omega Institute, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and literary conferences nationally. visit

4 Ways to Value and Build More Joy Into This Holiday Season

4 Ways to Value and Build More Joy Into This Holiday Season

The holiday season sometimes feel like brief moments of joy thrown together with an awful lot of unsettled intensity. Attending to those easier times doesn’t mean we should ignore the unpleasant, but we can aim to not get so caught up in it. It is often expectations, anxieties, and perfectionism that amp up our holiday experience. Focusing on what we value and giving those times our most direct attention, we end up with a happier and more restorative holiday season.


Give happier moments your full attention, as you would a meditation

Whenever you catch yourself distracted from a moment of ease, come back. That could be through spending a few minutes alone, or with a favorite person or pet. It could mean taking in a party while the room feels full of connection and excitement. Or savoring a favorite food. Notice when you’re distracted by future planning, problem solving, or past conflicts, and in an unforced way, immerse yourself in a joyful moment.

Let go of expectations and comparison

Don’t ‘should’ on your holidays by thinking they should be better or resemble that family’s holidays or resemble holidays from ten years ago. These holidays will never, by definition, be the same as any other. If something truly has you down, even that gets complicated by ‘should’—like thinking you should be joyful when you’re not. Ever find yourself doing something because you should, instead of wanting or needing to? Whenever you notice ‘should-ing,’ see if you can note the thoughts and come back to whatever you feel best.

Let go of perfection

Check in with what you value and want to give to others. Ease, connection, what most comes to mind? Let go of stories about what must unfold in some precise way to meet your holiday standard. Wishes are one thing (I hope we’re all happy and healthy), perfection is unlikely (everyone better get along this year for once).

Sustain yourself

Let go, when you choose (and without hassling yourself), of how you typically live while keeping up with whatever keeps you strong. How little sleep and exercise are okay before you implode emotionally? How much indulging before you feel miserable the next day and maybe one after that? How much stress relates to getting physically run down? And then, always remember that practicing gratitude and giving to others may be one of the most valuable, sustaining choices we have. Happy holidays!


Mark Bertin is a pediatrician, author, professor, and mindfulness teacher specializing in neurodevelopmental behavioral pediatrics. He is the author of How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids, a regular contributor to, HuffPost, and Psychology Today. Dr. Bertin resides in Pleasantville, New York. For more, visit

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. Use promo code HOLIDAY10 and receive an additional 10% off your order.